Meeting Halfway — Turkey in Italy

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.”  Well, that saying may have more than a literal meaning, but for the Bryson and Ossola families, meeting halfway in Italy was a fantastic adventure.  It all started over the summer with the discussion of whether the long distance to India could be endured, along with the smells, food, etc.  After sharing that we would gladly meet them halfway in Europe for a trip, wheels started spinning, internet searches were done, determining that the best soccer match for Thanksgiving week would be in Turin, Italy.  End result — a whirlwind trip of Italy with great friends!

Stop 1:  Turin, Italy for the Juventus vs Manchester City Match

We were able to fulfill one of our boys’ wishes of hitting up one more European soccer game while living in India.  If one has never attended a soccer match in Europe, it is an event.  Unlike American sports where we file to our seats after the game begins, leave to buy food during the game, Europeans take their soccer a bit more serious.  No one arrives late and rarely leaves their seat.  There is definitely a reverence for the game in Europe.  The most memorable moment of the night, though may have been the street wandering done for at least an hour trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel — buses completely packed, taxis hard to find.  Turin has not figured that out yet, as we were not alone in the pursuit of transportation.  We finally had a few people that were packing up their merchandise booths take pity on us and offered to get us back to our hotel.

We arrived in Turin around 9am Wednesday morning so we had some time before the game to take in some sights.  We saw the City Palace, visited the church where the Shroud of Turin is located and did TripAdvisor’s #1 recommendation — the Egyptian museum.  Hailey found it troubling that we were in Italy visiting Egypt at a museum but I must say it was an impressive display.

DSC04329

Turin’s City Palace

 

DSC04309

The Egyptian museum

 

Turin street performers and our first taste of Italian pizza — the boys ordered “American pizza” which had French fries and hot dogs for toppings.

Stop #2:  Florence, Tyler’s favorite!

We left unified Italy’s first capitol city of Turin, and headed to it’s second capitol city — Florence — where 1/3 of the world’s art treasures reside and the first European city with paved streets.  We celebrated Thanksgiving on this day with a full Thanksgiving dinner thanks to our friend, Amy, who wandered across an American sports bar offering turkey with all the trimmings — the first our family has had in three years.  Watching some American football on big screens at the restaurant was another pull for the group as it is something we miss.

DSC04376

Tyler and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary in Florence on Thanksgiving Day.  Much to be grateful for these past 24 years.

 

Climbing all the way to the Duomo in Florence gave us incredible views of the city.  Despite the effort to get to the top, the kids agreed that the views at the top were better than the one at the Academie where Michelangelo’s “David” statue is on display.  Hailey did not appreciate looking at a large statue of a naked man and the boys got plenty of chuckles over it but it was the first time I had seen it and it is incredible.

DSC04398

Lots of “people watching” and chuckles as they viewed the backside of David at the Academie Museum

 

DSC04424

The view from the climb at the Duomo.  Look at that clean air — something I do not take for granted now.

 

Stop #3:  Rome — the eternal city and current capitol of Italy — and the Vatican — the world’s smallest sovereign state

We were losing part of our group’s energy by the time we arrived in Rome, so some opted rest at the hotel Friday afternoon — it may have had something to do with the late nights going on in the boys’ rooms.  But that didn’t deter the rest of us — adults + Hailey in walking the town making stops at the Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and of course a gelato shop!

DSC04478

The Trevi Fountain in Rome

 

DSC04488

Hailey’s favorite — the Pantheon

On our last full day, Saturday, we crammed in all that we could and still keep everyone happy.  We covered the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and Vatican City.  The Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel were actually toured twice — the boys just couldn’t get enough of it!  Just kidding — we missed the turn the first time to walk directly from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter’s Basilica so we amused many tourists as we walked through a second time incredibly fast.

DSC04518

The Roman Forum

 

 

DSC04546

The Colosseum

DSC04577

The Christmas tree was ready at Vatican City.  Since we get NO sign of Christmas in New Delhi, it was so nice to see the signs of Christmas in Italy.

 

Technically, the Ossola’s traveled more than halfway to meet the Bryson family in Italy but we are so grateful that we had the experience to meet such great friends, tour an incredible part of the world, and appreciate the diversity that is in this planet!  Thank you Ossola’s for meeting us halfway!

Advertisements

The Climb to Mt. Everest

Thank you Gandhi’s Birthday (a national holiday in India) for giving us a 3 day weekend to travel to Nepal — a mere 90 minute flight from New Delhi.  Why haven’t we been here before now?  As I asked the family how they would describe Nepal, the response was, “It’s India, but it’s not India.”

Ok, so we didn’t actually climb with our feet to Mt. Everest but we climbed VERY high in Buddha Air’s “Flight to Mt. Everest Experience” and let’s just say it was an experience of a lifetime.  Saturday morning at 5:00 am we left our hotel to head to the small, Kathmandu domestic airport that everyone goes through to hike to Everest Base Camp or further.  Sitting in that airport and watching the excitement of different groups heading out on hiking excursions planted a desire for Tyler to get back here and at least do a day hike in this beautiful part of the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
At 29,028 feet, Mt. Everest is absolutely beautiful!

 DSC03982
Boarding our small aircraft.  There were about 20 of us on the airplane with everyone having a window seat.  Some of our children were still wanting to be in bed so taking off in the airplane almost put them back to sleep.  Flights over Everest are done for only a couple of hours each morning starting at 6:30am.

DSC04006
There are over 20 mountain peaks in the mountain range that are any where from 20,660 feet (Chugimago that is pictured in this shot) to the big Mt. Everest.  They gave us a map of the mountain range that we could follow as we took the 50 minute plane flight.  Each person on the flight got to visit the cockpit area and let’s just say those pilots definitely have the best view on the plane.

DSC04029

Saturday felt like the day that must have been more than one day for sure.  After the Everest flight we headed back to get in church clothes to visit our church in Kathmandu.  The earthquake in May damaged their building they were meeting in so they currently meet in a hotel conference room.  Saturday instead of Sunday is their day of worship because in Nepal, Saturday is the only day off.  Yes, Sunday morning, we saw kids heading off to school in their school uniforms.  Following church we headed out to visit some of the holiest sites to Buddhists.

DSC04055

The Monkey Temple is the common name for this Unesco World Heritage Site of Swayambhunath.  One climbs hundreds of stairs to get to the top and experience an incredible mixture of both Hindu and Buddhist temples and worship taking place.  The history of this site dates back 2000 years.  According to legend the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake and this hill rose spontaneously from the waters, hence the name that means “self-arisen.”

DSC04058
Prayer flags are shown here with a great view of the Kathmandu valley.

DSC04079
Hundreds of monkeys live in the trees and around the site, thus the common name of “monkey temple.” 

DSC04032
Prayer bells were found throughout the site.

DSC04033
A mistake by our taxi driver put us at this location before arriving at the Monkey Temple which was up and around the hill from here.

DSC04039

The Great Boudha Stupa — Stupa of Enlightenment — was just a short walk from our hotel and we visited it both Friday and Saturday.  It was definitely fun to sit and people watch and feel the energy of the place.

DSC03907
The Boudha Stupa

Buddhist people believe the relics of the third Buddha of Bhadrakalpa was enshrined in the dome of this stupa.  It was undergoing some restoration and repair work so we saw a lot of scaffolding.  This Stupa is another world heritage site by Unesco.  It is a major destination for pilgrims from the Himalayas and the center of a thriving town of monasteries.  Many stories and legends surround the history of this stupa and it is considered a “wish, granting jewel.”  All those who receive blessings from it will receive empowerment from all the Buddhas of the ten directions.  It is know as “The Stupa that Answers All Prayers.”

DSC03918
This is as close as we could get to the Stupa, just inside the gate where we entered a room where there was a huge prayer bell that one walks around three times and of course leave a donation to invest in the power of this precious jewel.

So as we sat Saturday night on a bench and watched people making their rounds around the Stupa, we observed a few things.  Prayer bells line the stupa and as they walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction, they will move the prayer bells as they are praying.  They also walk with prayer beads in hand and we noticed that women wear an apron.  I inquired about this and was told that the colorful apron is a sign that the woman is married.

DSC03934
Shops line the Boudha stupa where one can buy prayer beads, aprons, snacks, souvenirs.

DSC03909
The Guru Lhakhang Monastery — the oldest of the four monasteries around the Boudha Stupa.

We were there during a fuel crisis.  Many people asked us if there were signs of it.  Yes there were but it didn’t affect us too much.  Taxi prices were much higher than normal as they are limited on the amount of fuel they can obtain.  Streets were lined with buses waiting to get fuel at some point.

WP_20151004_12_23_01_Pro
Nepali people make the most of their fuel shortage — Buses were loaded inside and out.
DSC04089
The souvenir shop where I bought my yak bell that they tie around the yaks wandering the Himalayas.

The best souvenir of the trip — memories of this great experience  for sure.  Along with those, a yak bell, leather yak backpack and a singing bowl accompanied us back to New Delhi.

Auspicious Days and Other Customs To Bring Good Fortune

Favorable, good luck, well timed, prosperous and fortunate are all synonyms of auspicious — a word that I personally had never used until moving to India.  It’s one of those words I hear frequently now, and have to smile every time.  In the Hindu religion and here in India, there is a strong belief that things should be done on “auspicious” days — such as buying a car, purchasing a home, opening a new business and definitely which day you are married.  The calendar of holidays in India differs from year to year based on the “auspicious days” selected for those events.  How is it determined?  Astrology is the most simple answer.


A Vedic Astrology Chart

Hindu Vedic Astrology is fundamentally different from Western and Chinese astrology.  The measurement of the Zodiac is one of the main differences.  In Vedic astrology the motion of planets is measured with the fixed background of stars.  In Western astrology the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun.  Some universities here offer advanced degrees in astrology as so much weight is placed upon the ability to read numbers, stars, etc. to gauge the most “auspicious” days and determine which person one should marry.  Vedic astrology can be traced back thousands of years.  In the early days it was only based on the movement of planets in relation to the stars, but later it added the element of the zodiac signs.

So as the major holiday season of India approaches with Dusshera in October and Diwali in November, there are a number of “auspicious” days and many big purchases happen at this time.  Just today in the newspaper there was an ad that reiterated the belief that even choosing the color of your car should be considered in relation to Vedic astrology.

WP_20150930_13_00_28_Pro
“”Passion Red or Ivory White?  Better to carry your numerologist along!”  And here I thought choosing the color of car just had to do with personal preference.

The wedding is one of the greatest events in a person’s life and Indian’s take their Vedic astrology very serious when it comes to determining the person they marry as well as the date the marriage takes place.  One woman that I have gotten to know here grew up in America but had Indian parents.  She was sent to India to meet some of the men that her father considered were appropriate for her to marry.  She told me that her father would consider the birthdate of each candidate because if the man’s birthdate did not align properly with hers, he would not even consider it.  She did end up having an arranged marriage here in India, with someone that was “auspicious” and she says she has been fortunate in her marriage.  She personally does not believe in it, but she says looking back now (she is probably in her 50s), she says that many of the predicted events did come to fruition.  Every Hindu Indian I have met has confirmed that they met with an astrologer before picking their wedding date.  An astrologer will determine the groom’s astrological position to the moon and then determine the same for the bride in relation to the sun.  The astrologer then gives the couple lucky times and dates for their wedding.

There are a few other customs here that are followed to bring good fortune as well that I wanted to share.  The first is the placing of different “charms” around one’s home in order to ward off the evil spirit.  As I participated in the pottery village tour last year, the guide pointed out several masks that were placed near every home.  At our building, there are several to be found as well around the property.  I am not sure if it is the guards, the landlord, or the drivers that place them there but we are well protected.

DSC02148
One charm in the pottery village that hung from someone’s home to ward off evil.

Babies are also named based on their charts of astrology.  During the first year of a baby’s life, there is a custom followed here to ward off the “evil eye.”  Parents will place a black dot on the side of the face, or on the forehead.  I was told by a local that the parents don’t want people commenting on how beautiful the baby is because they fear it will bring an evil influence to the baby.  One Indian woman I have gotten to know that spent most of her life in America told me that even the parents that say they don’t believe in this tradition will still place a black dot behind the baby’s ear “just in case.”  Babies also have black bangles placed on their wrists to assist in helping ward off the evil.  The black “kajal” that is applied to baby’s eyes has a couple of meanings — first it is believed to give a cooling effect upon the eyes protecting them from the sun’s rays but also to ward off the evil eye.

DSC02087
This baby has “kajal” around his eyes.  The child in orange on the bottom picture has a small black dot on his forehead as well to keep him protected.

DSC02165

Another Indian custom, which we all identify with India is the “bindi” a woman wears.  This dot has mystical meaning and is only worn by Hindus, thus a physical identifier that the woman is Hindu, although I have met women who are not Hindu that wear it.  It represents a third eye of spiritual sight which sees things physical eyes cannot.  According to some of the facts I read on bindis, it states that if it is a red bindi it means the woman is married and sometimes those women not married will wear a black bindi to ward off the “evil eye” of course.  What I see happening today, though, is that the bindi has become a piece of fashion and the color of the bindi is worn to correlate with what the woman is wearing whether she is married or not.  Until researching the bindi I didn’t understand it’s true meaning of being a reminder to use and cultivate this spiritual vision so I am unsure how much this concept is taught and understood.

WP_20150920_12_32_31_Pro

“Auspicious” days and events are smiled upon by everyone but it is amazing to me how moving to a different culture has brought this word into my vocabulary.  I am not one to read horoscopes or have palms read but I am grateful for those moments where I fell fortunate, prosperous and that things were well timed — in other words, auspicious!

Glad We Went to Goa

With a four day weekend upon us and Tyler in the US for work, we debated which place on our long list of “places we want to see” we should visit.  Since Tyler had already been to Goa for work, we decided we would skip the monotony of another weekend in Delhi and take the 2 1/2 hour plane flight south to see Goa.

DSC03678
Those San Clemente rainbow sandals made it to Goa.

DSC03666
We stayed at the Park Hyatt Resort in South Goa.  The pool had small waterslides with multi-tired swimming pools. 

DSC03705

Goa is located in the western region of India, along the Arabian Sea and is the smallest state by area in India but one of India’s richest.  It is the fourth smallest state by population having 1.87 million residents, according to a 2012 census.  Goa was attacked and captured by the Portuguese in the early 1500s.  The Portuguese ruled Goa for 450 years.  In 1961 Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule and obtained statehood in India in 1987.

DSC03809
Old Portuguese homes and buildings are seen throughout Goa. 

We had heard that south India was different from north, and we can attest that there is truth to that.  Here are a few of the differences we witnessed during our visit:

  •  Fresh air and cooler temperatures than Delhi  (It was 100 degrees when we departed Delhi on Friday).  Goa is definitely a tropical location and is known for it’s beaches.  The best time to visit is October thru February, as once the monsoon season entirely leaves, the beaches change.  During monsoons the ocean is very dirty and has such strong riptides and currents that no one ventures in the ocean except to get those feet wet.  Once the “season” starts, a local told me that restaurants are opened up along the coast such as French cafés, German bakeries, etc.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The resort had it’s own private beach area that was beautiful.  Too bad we were at the tail end of monsoon season so the lifeguard’s didn’t allow people to venture out past their knees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A fishing boat along the beach.  Rice with fish curry is a popular Goan dish.  They also use a lot of coconuts and coconut oil in their foods.  Cashew nuts is also a popular item from Goa.
  • Religion.  Although Goa still has many Hindus and Muslims, the Christian religion is evident.  On Sunday morning as we drove about an hour to attend our church in the North part of Goa, we passed MANY Catholic churches and the dress of those attending Christian churches definitely mirrors more of what you would see in the states — dresses instead of just the usual sari or kurta.  Unlike Delhi, Goa also closes most of its retail establishments on Sundays.  One of the more popular tourist sites is the Basilica Bom Jesus Church that was built in the late 1500s.  After attending church we stopped and visited it.

DSC03810
Basilica Bom Jesus — yes I am still in India as we were approached by many Indians to have their pictures taken with us as soon as we stepped out of the taxi at this location.  Yes, to the little children, No, to the adult men. 

DSC03804
Inside the Basilica Bom Jesus

DSC03763
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints we try to attend our church when traveling if possible.  Definitely a highlight of this trip as we got to meet the locals and find out a little about them.  Our taxi driver earned his money finding it for us.  On a weekday we could have visited the dentist or hair salon in the same building.

  • Cultural Differences.  The people were extremely friendly in Goa.  The traffic even had some sort of organization when driving on the road.  Instead of driving down the middle of the road, or on the wrong side, I found people driving in their lanes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Delhi has not had a lot of monsoons this year, so Hailey got her wish with some pretty heavy downpours a couple of the nights we were there.

So after spending a few days enjoying the resort pools, walking along the beach and collecting a few more seashells for my collection, it was great to enjoy the milder weather and just be outside all day.  As we headed back to Delhi we were grateful we took advantage of the extra days off of school and saw this beautiful part of India.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the quick Monday morning swim before heading back to the airport.

“Suitcase Syndrome” — It’s How We Look Forward to the 20+ Hour Flight

DSC02980
Conner was smiling big as he ate that first hamburger in America.

“Has it ever been hard to get your kids back on that flight to India?”, is a question we have heard a few times after returning home to the United States. Though each of us have a hard time saying goodbye to the lifestyle, family and friends here, I can honestly say that we have never had one of our children proclaim they are not getting on that plane. Well, this summer I figured out the secret – it’s “Suitcase Syndrome.” After being in the United States for 9 ½ weeks, and packing up the suitcase in many different locations (18 for some of my children), each one of us has experienced suitcase syndrome and are ready to stop living out of one.

A few experiences with our suitcase syndrome:

  • Lost suitcases that don’t arrive with your flight don’t even bother you. We are in the USA, it is so easy to buy replacements and the trip to Target was smiled upon anyways.

DSC03076
Hailey wanted the largest Goldfish package she could get at Target visit #2 on Day 1 in the US.

  • Cracked, broken suitcases – well it had a good life traveling around the world but when it is packed full, meeting the weight limitation several times because mom is always carrying everyone’s stuff they don’t pack (sunscreen, medications, etc.), no wonder it has expired.
  • Physical meltdowns. It is common with any illness, to have feelings that you just want to get over it. Well, suitcase syndrome definitely has a similar symptom. More than once near the end of our trip I heard, “I am so sick of living out of this suitcase.” The best expression of this was the moment when one child broke down and said, “I am done with this family! I need stability in my life.” That one made me smile and laugh a very long time.

The summer began on the east coast in New York, and the fun didn’t end until both northern and southern California had been enjoyed, with several stops in between. When we arrive back in New Delhi more than 25,000 miles will be logged on the trip, making it a summer full of memories. A HUGE thanks to each person that spent time with us, hosted us, and filled our buckets so that we can return to India.  Although we have had enough of suitcase living, we will never get enough of….

Friends….

DSC03471  V__2598  DSC03489

Family….

V__8F3C  DSC03583    DSC03318   V__97E6  DSC03422

Clean Air….  (One of the best quotes of the trip occurred on Day 2 …”The sky must be higher here!”)

V__8AF3
Zions National Park

DSC03275
Niagara Falls

DSC03129
Palmyra New York

DSC03592
Squaw Peak, Tahoe

DSC03461
Bear Lake

DSC03507
San Francisco

DSC03057
Eerie Canal

DSC03478
San Clemente

As I fold and pack the clothes one more time before getting on that plane, I know “suitcase syndrome” brings some great blessings – the desire to get to sleep in your own bed and be in your own bedroom even if it takes 20+ hours to get there on an airplane. Thank you summer 2015 for an incredible time!

Our “Little Happys”

Living in another country makes one miss many things they are accustomed to but dwelling on those does not bring happiness.  So, we have tried to find some things here in India that are just simple every day events that we call our “little happys” that bring some joy to us.  So as year two in New Delhi India comes to a close for us (okay so Tyler is going to sweat it out in June alone here), we wanted to share a few of our “little happys” that we have discovered.

WP_20141017_001

Flower Stands:  Flowers are super cheap here and corner flower markets are seen frequently throughout the city.  You can even pick up a bunch of roses off a child walking up and down the aisles of cars at a traffic light stop.  Hailey definitely finds joy in heading over to the flower stand and picking out a nice bouquet.  She just wishes we would indulge in this “little happy” more frequently.

WP_20150320_001

Mother Dairy:  There are ice cream carts peddling their goods throughout the city but according to the boys, Mother Dairy is the best one and they definitely find happiness in the price.  An ice cream cone (a smaller version of a Drumstick) costs a few cents.  We have a larger Mother Dairy location a few minutes walk from our home so every so often, we just stock up on these cones.  The guards and drivers of our building love when we indulge in this little happy because we always return with enough to share with them as well.

WP_20150504_001

Massages:  As we have mentioned in prior blogs, anything that has to do with labor, is inexpensive here in India and as a result, we are indulging in the “little happy” of weekly massages from Madu, a local Indian woman, that comes to our home.  For less than $20 one can get an extremely good hour massage.  This little happy is going to be greatly missed when we leave India.

WP_20150504_003

Our Gym:  One of the purposes for shopping for a ground floor apartment was because the basement sometimes comes with it and we have made a very big “little happy” in our basement with our personal gym.  Everyone in the home makes their way down there at various times and I have to say that it has probably kept our sanity by spending time in the gym.

WP_20140516_002

Fresh Fruit:  The local fruit is incredible here and Tyler loves his morning fruit bowls.  I have definitely become more efficient at cutting mangoes and pomegranates and they are delicious.  If the fruit is locally grown, it is much cheaper than at home, but if you want an imported item, be ready for sticker shock.  We are especially happy when it is mango season!

DSC02618

An Incredible Landlord:  There are plenty of scary “landlord” stories one hears throughout the expat community but we have been given the best landlord.  Household items are of a different quality and build here so we feel very blessed that we have a great landlord that attends to any issues we have very quickly.  I mean, how many times can a brand new dryer need maintenance or the government create new forms we need to submit with our landlord’s signature?  Well, he responds promptly and positively every time.

WP_20150309_001

The “Wow” Factor from the Unexpected:  New Delhi does not disappoint in seeing the “unexpected” and it makes us smile when we see the occasional camel on the road, elephant walking down the street, a bus so stuffed with people the doors won’t close or the family of 5 traveling on a motorcycle..  We definitely get happiness from the unexpected energy and reminders that “Wow!  I live in India.”

But the most recent enormous little happy is that the internet speed has been upgraded in our area!  We can’t tell you how happy that makes our life in so many ways.  Of course it took us inquiring first to pursue the faster connection and then many visits from the provider to finally get it but that is definitely one of our BIG little happys.  Okay, so it fluctuates still by the hour and we really are never getting the speed that they claim, but on those moments when it is faster, we are SO HAPPY!  I am certain year three will reveal even more “little happys” for us to add to the list.

The Trees of Delhi

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overlooking the “greenery” from a viewing point with the Qutab Minar in the background.

There is tree coverage all over this massive city.  It is incredible to see the old, beautiful trees and when you can get up on a rooftop or higher viewing point within Delhi, you look out and think, “Wow, is there really that much green in this city?”  It amazes me each time I see it.  Trees in Delhi are very important and I will share a  little about the love Delhi has for her trees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many trees in Delhi have quite a history and they are beautiful!  This tree is on the Red Fort historical site and could share some great stories if he could talk.

The trees in India are LOVED and some of that stems to the Hindu religion.  Some trees are representative of certain Hindu gods and have spiritual significance.  The Indian people also value the great medicinal importance they gain from these trees.  For example the Neem tree’s bark is used for brushing teeth and cleaning breath.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Forget the toothbrush and tooth paste.  One street vendor selling Neem tree branches for teeth hygiene.

The Peepal tree has such spiritual significance that you will often find it with red ties around its trunks and statues/pictures of a Hindu god placed at its base.  It is also believed to protect from the “evil eye” and prevent bad dreams.

DSC02099
A peepal tree with several Hindu statues laid at its base.

A specific basil plant must be planted in a certain piece of pottery and only designated people of the household are allowed to water the plant.
DSC02118
In the Pottery Village I toured, this potter was finishing up the clay pot that is used only for this special Basil plant that has religious significance.

As millions of people live in this ever growing city and firewood being an important cooking and heating element to certain sections of the population, Delhi has learned to protect her trees.  How do they do this?  Well, the numbering system seems to be one way.  One can drive down roads and see numbers painted on many of the trees.  A second way of protecting those trees is making it illegal to decide to cut down a tree if it is on your personal property.  An owner can go through an extensive process requesting to remove a tree but the end result is usually a “no” for approval.  But what if that tree is bringing up the sidewalk or driveway?  Well, the tree definitely has rights here.  Let me give you an example of how protected they are here.

DSC02954
Numbered trees are a common site ensuring they are not being removed.

This past month, The Times of India newspaper, did a write up on a road in South Delhi that is trying to be widened from 2 lanes to 4 lanes.  (Let me say that the traffic is so backed up here in New Delhi, that the need for that 4 lane road is not even a question.)  So, as the city has contemplated the removal of trees to build this road, they have chosen to risk thousands of lives driving on these streets to save 35 trees that reside in the middle of the road.  As a result we have a road that is more like an obstacle course than city driving.   Warning signs have been placed around trees and reflective paint to help in the evening, but these trees have caused accidents, traffic jams and forced speed reductions to avoid driving into the trees.  Tyler drives this section of road on his way to work and each day both he and the driver have a laugh over the odd decision to leave all these trees throughout the road.

tree in middle of road
Near our neighborhood where they just left the tree right there in the middle of the road. 

I am personally grateful for the green in Delhi adding much beauty and helping fight the massive pollution problem that exists here.  Do I understand the craziness of deciding to leave a tree in a middle of a road or build the fence with a tree included in its path?  No.  But then again, I am realizing there is much to learn here and I am grateful that Delhi does love her trees.